By Debra Chong | June 20, 2011
The Malaysian Insider
KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 — Calling it the most “bloodcurdling and incendiary” statement made in public, DAP’s Lim Kit Siang questioned today Putrajaya’s silence against Perkasa’s warning to ethnic Chinese to “stay home” and “stock up on food” on July 9.
Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali, who founded the grassroots Malay nationalist group, had yesterday launched a counter-strike to the July 9 public rally organised by electoral reform group Bersih 2.0.
There, he declared “If the Bersih rally is not cancelled… I believe the Chinese community will have to stock up on food”.
“If an emergency declared, will the Agong be able to appoint a caretaker leader? Maybe they (the opposition) will take to the streets and demand that they take over the government,” the Independent Pasir Mas MP added.
Lim, who is Ipoh-Timur MP, said he was shocked by his parliamentary colleague’s provocative remarks, highlighting that the Bersih campaign is about free and fair elections and had nothing to do with race.
He demanded the federal government explain why no action has been taken against Ibrahim.
“The question is not about the tirade from Ibrahim Ali but why has he been given the immunity and impunity to make such provocation.
“Why is the home minister, the prime minister and the IGP closing their eyes to such provocation and strengthening the impression they are complicit or conspiring with such a threat?” the seasoned DAP politician asked.
He added that it was not only Ibrahim but Umno-owned newspaper, Utusan Malaysia, which was behind the move to “demonise the Bersih campaign in racial terms and to subvert the democratic process and topple a democratically-elected government, without basis”.
The opposition leader said the show of muscle reflected the desperation of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition’s lynchpin, Umno.
“They know they’re in their last months of power because they have lost the public’s confidence,” Lim told The Malaysian Insider.
Klang MP Charles Santiago slammed Ibrahim for Perkasa’s provocative stand, labelling the latter an “unmitigated bigot”.
“By focusing on the Chinese, he is saying that the Chinese are weak politically, cowing them into subordination,” he said.
Santiago, who is also a DAP member, echoed Lim in saying the Bersih march was not about Chinese, Indian or Malays but fighting for a level playing field in Malaysia.
“This is a wakeup call. We don’t need bigots like Ibrahim Ali, he is a man looking for relevance,” he said.
Perkasa had kicked off its “Peace March” at the centre of Malay nationalism, the Kelab Sultan Sulaiman in Kampung Baru here yesterday by burning images of Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.
Its self-declared “war general”, Ibrahim, said Perkasa will also march on July 9 if Bersih does, but washed his hands off responsibility for any untoward incident that might happen on that day.
“Yes, anything can happen. And so I ask the police to act and use whatever powers are at their disposal,” he told some 500 supporters at the launch.